PARALLEL WORLDS - Obsessive Surrealism CD review
Ian Boddy's Din label is now famous world-wide as the leading electronic music label that mixes originality with accessibility - you won't hear something on this label that bores you to death and you also won't hear anything that bores holes in you. This is no exception. The opening track, 6 minutes of "Beneath Fear" immediately serves as testimony. There's a melody line but it's twisted, there's a rhythm but it's angular, there's a texture but it's choral and a strength but it's magical. As keyboard, synth and electronci and electro-percussive rhythms move over each other like tectonic plates slowly coming to life, the feeling is of a giant awakening from a long-held slumber, the peice possessing more atmosphere than purpose, but, inreality, plenty of each. So much so, that the 5 minutes of "Different Pathways" is altogether lighter as though the giant beast has sprouted wings and is now able to fly, stretch and circle, albeit slowly, as musical muscles are flexed and the synths wheeze and groan in a highly melodic manner, drones the wheeze, bass rumbles the groans, as twinkling synth tunes in the distant, sparkle on top of slowly flowing electro-percussive beats, boinging bass synths and swirling gas clouds of electronics. The 3 minutes of "Empty Human Cells" is typical of the album as every track is its own entity and yet there seems to be a natural thematic follow-on from the previous piece. Here the sound is altogether bigger, with giant bass synth rhythms booming out slowly as more cosmic synth textures dance behind an array of heavenly melody lines, the dominant force beingt the dark rhythms that hang like a cloud over the optimism, turning light into something altogether more eerie, the synths gathering strength and an assembalge of rhythms and layers gliding purposefully acroass a universe of space synth backdrops. Ironically, the 6 minutes of "Increasing Complexity", is altogether more simplistic, as electric piano melody flows over gentle synth rhythms and undulating backdrops to provide a restrained respite from the increasing intensity, this time a big loping electro-percussive synth rhythm taking centre stage as the melody meanders, the rhythm undfolds and wheezing, puffing electronic rhythmic backgrounds supplement the main machine heart of the beast, all the while the melodic blood flowing through its veins and keeping it alive and vital. "Caves" also focuses on the rhythmic side of things as the central theme unfolds before these subside to leave a sea of slow-motion keyboard chords that lull you before the impending darkness falls and the life of stuttering rhythmic complexity begins to form all around you. Two minutes of deep, dark industrial strength cosmic synths allied to industrial strength booming electro-percussive rhythms serves as a bridge between what has gone before and the magical 9 minutes of "Reflective" where string synths and soaring space synth swoops create something timeless and beautiful as the, now familiar, sound of a booming electronic beat, this time slowly, emerges and takes its place at the centre of its universe, the synth flow darkening, the melodic intensity deepening and the whole thing gathering strength and layers to take off to the skies like some giant spaceship of unknown origin and yet seemingly familiar design. The rhythms rev up like rocket motors and the resonant rumble of boinging bass synths adds to the electro-percussive beats as the stirring sound of string synths weves the melodic web and all manner of eldctronic surrounds provide a pastoral presence to sit naturally against the blackness of the rhythmic mood. The near 9 minutes of "Mindmists" is altogether more abstract and here the melody factor disappears into one giant musical black hole, out of which comes the echoes of distant melodie that ahve ben swallowed up by the darkness, th whole main figure gurgling, rumbling, lurching and sucking in every musical layer you care to throw at it, as, one after another, rhythms tumble freefall through space while the sound of distant mellotrons provides a backdrop for the juxtaposition of cosmic bliss and dark bleak space, the gravity wll eventually falling away to reveal uncharted regions of space through which you cruise with electric piano, mellotron, electro-percussive rhythmic rumbles, off-key electronic backdrops and space synth masses, all combine to create a wholly new musical universe that soon bursts into life and evolves into yet another spellbinding example of rhythm and texture. Three tracks between 4 and 7 minutes complete the picture in similar vein to what has gone before and the epic journey is over, something that has transfixed you yet somehow has left a mark that is felt but not remembered, as you lay it to rest, knowing one day son, that it's a journey you will wish to undertake once more to see the altogether different musical sights that youmight have missed first time round and to enjoy the shape of the universe in many and varied ways. Adventurous originality combined with accessibility in electronics is summed up by this album.
Andy Garibaldi(Dead Earnest) 12-07www.deadearnest.btinternet.co.ukwww.myspace.com/deadearnestdundeewww.myspace.com/mermaidrockpromotions